Monday, June 5, 2017

A Sad Goodbye to Our Dear Suki

Our dear Suki
Last week we had to let our Suki go. She was about 16 years old and had been declining physically and mentally. 

Suki was a puppy mill breeder for her first seven years. The Shiba Inu Rescue Society bought her at auction and she spent a year as a foster dog. When we brought her home she was still very unsocialized, frightened, and ignorant of the world. We worked with her and she blossomed into a brave, smart dog.

Suki, when she came to us, huddled in a corner. I sat next to her
and pet her and talked to her. It took days to get a response.
Suki was a 'red' Shiba with dark hair down her back and on her face. She had a triple-thick coat that felt like velvet.
Suki had to learn to be on a leash, climb stairs, understand open spaces, and the concept that she couldn't go in a straight line when something was between her and her destination. 
Suki was our third Shiba Inu. Over the last 30 years, we have had a Shiba Inu for 27.
Happy Suki
When we lived in the country she loved to run! I took her out to run four or five times a day. The wide, open space made her feel very safe. She hated corners and fences because anything could be on the other side. But in the open she was free.
Suki was large for a Shiba, her ears, head, and chest much bigger than our other Shiba's. She was powerful but a 'gentle giant' who was submissive to other dogs.
Our shy Suki
We wanted her to have a friend and fostered Kara. Sadly he died after nine months, but he did teach Suki to play and run. She was so happy, her tail up.
Kara with Suki (on the right)
She was very bright and a quick learner. She understood what we were saying, like 'back door' and 'front door'.  We could not say, "Do you want to walk the dogs?" because she would be at the door immediately. Then she knew "Do you want to w. the dogs" so we had to say, "Shall we perambulate?"
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She loved to sit up and beg for treats until I stopped her because I knew she had bad arthritis. Then she just had to sit, and later as she became blind I just made her 'come'. And, she learned to sit for a treat on the second command!
Our old Suki became blind. She loved 'cookie' treats.
Suki liked her cheek stroked and her back rubbed, but any semblance of holding or restraint sent her fleeing. In her younger years, she even enjoyed brushing and baths!

After we lost Kara we adopted Kamikaze. Kaze was a real pistol and bossed Suki around. But as they aged they gave each other great comfort.
Suki with Kamikaze

Suki's back had developed a white strip
Over this last winter, Suki no longer groomed herself, or rolled on her back like she loved. She wanted to go on walks but she had a limp in one leg, a quiver in another, and a front leg was so stiff it did not bend.
In her last months, Suki slept a lot.
As Suki lost her sight and experienced heart problems and arthritis she wanted me in her sight at all times. She became frightened of men again. She was hyper-vigilant all night, pacing and wanting to go outside and check the yard. And she panted deeply, from pain or stress. Some days she slept in past 3 pm or refused to eat her meals.
Suki loved when Kamikaze snuggled up
It was a hard decision to make but I know she was suffering. We will miss our beloved girl.
Suki's last meal was scrambled eggs.

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